Spike was an exhausted bundle of nerves when the plane taxied into the gate at one of London's very private airports. He was going to see Joyce, Giles, his diminutive brother-in-law...and his children. He was beyond terrified. He leaned backwards as Buffy's arms slipped around his waist. After a moment, he turned in her arms, looking into her loving eyes.

"Don't worry. You'll be fine. Anne was bouncing off the walls when I dropped her off. And Will...he's too much yours not to know who you are." Spike brushed a lock of hair from her forehead and dropped a small kiss on her brow. "And you'll have an hour in the car to be nervous."

"Aaaaaawwwww!" Buffy and Spike broke away from their almost-kiss to see Willow, eyes wide and wet. "You're just so...so...Romeo and Juliet!" Spike vaguely felt like vomiting. "Star crossed lovers reunited."

"Right up until the kill themselves in a comedy of tragic errors, right?" Buffy asked sardonically. Spike looked at his mate askance.

"Have you actually read Shakespeare's play, luv?" Buffy rolled her eyes and slapped his shoulder.

"I totally watched the movie! Leo's hot." Spike snorted and pushed her towards the now open door, laughing all the way.

"Figures." They made their way off the plane, walking towards the hanger where a car was supposed to be waiting. Instead, there was a mass of people. Spike froze, his jaw dropped open in amazement.

"DADDY!" A small bundle went flying towards Spike, who oofed as he caught her. "DaddyDaddyDaddyDaddy!" Thousands of little kisses were pressed against Spike's face as Anne exuberantly greeted her father. Spike was still too stunned to move. Willow wrapped a teary-eyed Buffy in a best-friend hug. Anne finally pulled away to look at her dad. "Hi."

"'Lo Bite-Sized," he said, the words sticking in his throat.

"I'm glad you're back." Spike couldn't do anything but bury his face in her jacket, struggling to contain his emotions. The movement seemed to break whatever spell had held the others back. Spike was suddenly surrounded by people.

Andrew made it to him first, still filled with exuberance and a touch of hero-worship, though Dawn was a close second. They jostled with each other for space near Spike, who laughed at the normalcy of their almost sibling-like rivalries. Then came Anya and Xander. Spike was shocked to see the long scar running across Anya's face, but the ex-vengeance demon shrugged it off with a quip about her appearance not hampering her ability to make money. Xander had a Hawaiian-print eye patch on, much to Spike's astonishment. Chris and Jason, not really understanding everything, gave Spike perfunctory hugs before running off to look at the air plane. Faith and Robin had flown in from Chicago on an earlier flight, and looked as tired as Spike felt...but happy. Robin had actually deigned to shake Spike's hand, an unspoken olive branch offered and accepted. Faith had just rolled her eyes at Spike's proffered hand and had drawn the blond vamp into a "Welcome Back to Life" smooch. Buffy had almost doubled over at Spike's dumbfounded expression, and Anne had covered her mouth to try and hide her giggles. There were a gaggle of potentials lined up to shake Spike's hand and give him a hug. He was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the time Giles and Joyce stepped up to see him, the mass of talking, happy people parting for them.

Giles came up first, his eyes expressing more than even his expansive vocabulary could have. Spike nodded tightly, before pulling his fellow Brit into a tight, manly embrace. Anne, released from her father's arms, ran over to her mother. Giles stepped aside for his wife, who held a small blanket-wrapped bundle in her arms. Joyce stepped up to her son-in-law, grateful as he obediently presented his cheek to her. Joyce wrapped one arm around his neck, kissing him softly.

"You've been gravely missed." Spike blinked back tears as he hugged her, mindful of the life between them. When they parted, he finally allowed himself to look at his son.

He has my eyes. It was the first thing that came to mind. William...his son, his namesake...smiled up at him. Love bloomed in his heart, but Spike couldn't help but feel a little disconnected. He'd missed to much. Both Anne and William had grown so much; Anne could apparently do things with her mind that no child should be able. His feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed must have filtered through his bond, because Buffy started hustling people to their respective cars.

Spike spent the entire ride cradling Will in his arms, Anne plastered to his side, Buffy on the other. Spike closed his eyes, the scent of his family calming him, though he was still too agitated to sleep. He started as they pulled up to a beautiful house on the outside of London. Obviously a Council-supplied home. He could see touches of Joyce and Giles everywhere. He felt at home, at peace here.

And impromptu party broke out as everyone else arrived. The wine cellar was raided, someone made a run to the corner shop for cheese, crackers, and other snack goods, and Spike was the center of attention. It made him feel odd. He'd spent so much of his time on the fringes, avoiding detection, that being in the limelight seemed wrong. He was grateful when it started winding down, the crowd dwindling to the various members of the Scooby gang, then to the immediate Summers family.


Spike held his son securely in one arm, still unable to let the boy go. His eyes were tracking Anne as she ran around the room, greeting her various 'aunts' and 'uncles' who were, for the first time in her memory, gathered in one place. And his Mate stood in the middle of them, glowing. she kept shooting him small, joy-filled glances.

"...and then Fred decided to become a stripper named Flamingo."

"That sounds...wait, what? What's a bloody flamingo have to do with the Giant Forehead?" Lorne laughed down the line.

"Oh, nothing, just seeing if you were paying attention." If Spike had the blood to blush, he would have.

"Yeah, well. Sorry. Look, it's simple. The Ponce was gettin' influenced by that place, someone working major dark mojo. Something's suppressing his soul, bringing out the Grand Wanker in him. Keep him away and lock 'em up for a while. He'll go back to being his own, git-like self in no time. And if he gives you trouble, lemme know."

Spike stamped down his frustration as the phone was passed to Fred. He owed the demure scientist more than she'd ever know, but he wasn't over his forced separation. All he wanted to do was whisk his family away at have them all to himself. But he suppressed those thoughts and concentrated on what Fred was saying. He had time. He had time.


Angel came to slowly, his body crying out in protest. Everything hurt. He growled as he remembered the last moments of his fight with Spike. How dare the little--

Angel gasped as the left side of his neck flared painfully. He froze as he realized what had happened. Spike had Dominated him. Spike! The bite gave another warning pang.

ANGELUS. The voice seemed to reverberate through his skull, and the wound on his neck throbbed. Though Spike was thousands of miles away, Angel cowered on his cot, the Dominance Claim demanding his acquiescence. YOU WILL NEVER COME NEAR MY FAMILY AGAIN.

A part of Angel rebelled at his gradchilde ordering him away from Buffy, who he still saw as rightfully his.

SHE IS MINE!

The sheer magnitude of Spike's emotional clout, his anger, possessiveness, and the years if abuse levied upon him by his grandsire would have knocked Angel over had he been standing. Angel had no choice but to submit, to silently agree to his Dominant's demands. The newness of the bond and the conditions it had been forged made Angel unable to fight Spike for long.

YOU WILL STAY AWAY. Angel gritted his teeth at the command, knowing he would follow them without a fight. After several minutes of silence from Spike's end of the claim, Angel allowed himself to relax. Maybe there was a way around the claim. Spike wasn't near, so the effects should wear off...eventually. He needed to get back to Wolfram & Hart; they would be able to remove the claim, and he could take care of his upstart relative. The thought was immediately followed by a searing, all-body pain.

THERE WILL BE NO ESCAPE! Spike's voice thundered in his head. YOU WILL STAY IN THIS ROOM UNTIL YOUR TEAM LETS YOU OUT. YOU WILL NOT TRY TO ESCAPE, YOU WILL NOT HARM THEM. YOU WILL BE...DOCILE. Angel could hear the smirk. He wanted to kill something, cause violence and mayhem, though he wasn't physically capable at the moment.

YOU WILL HARM NO ONE. EVER. Angel's demon howled at the pronouncement. His Dominant's proclamation was more binding than his soul. But with time...with time the claim would fade. Unless Spike returned to reinforce it. Spike's voice echoed through his head, less forceful and a bit grudging.

Listen up, Wanker. I'm watching you. You're in detox, gettin' rid of whatever it is that place did to you. But I'm watchin'. Not plannin' on gettin' close enough to re-up the Dominance Claim, but if you ever hurt my family again, you won't have to worry about that. I promise. So be a good boy, get better, and STAY. With that, Spike left Angel's consciousness, though the reminder of his power still throbbed through Angel's neck.

An ocean away, Spike collapsed onto the bed. He purred as Buffy ran her fingers through his hair, her dexterous hands massaging away the tension.

"You tell him?" she asked.

"Yeah," Spike grunted. "Dunno WHY. Shoulda let the wanker stew." Buffy huffed a laugh, leaning over and kissing him lightly on the lips.

"He's out of our lives. For good," she whispered, her warm breath caressing his face. "Would you rather him stew?" Spike grabbed her head and pulled her in for a deeper kiss. She had her answer.

"DADDY!" A pint-sized blur shot onto the bed, making the mattress move and Will to wake up. Spike instantly reached for his fussy bundle of joy as Buffy assured a contrite Anne that no harm was done. It only took a few moments for Will to settle down in his father's arms, giggling as Spike rapidly shifted from vamp-face back to his human visage. Spike looked over and smiled at his daughter.

"He's fine, want to see?" Anne nodded gravely, then gingerly peered over Will's baby blanket. Will grinned, his blue eyes sparkling, and waved his chubby fists in the air. "You're Daddy's little boy, aren'tcha?" Buffy grinned at how unbelievably cute Spike was like this. "Daddy's little boy."

"Da!" Spike froze, his mouth in a perfect 'O.' Buffy gasped, and leaned over his shoulder.

"Did he just say..."

"Da!" Will giggled delightedly at his father's frozen expression. "Da! Da!"

"He...he just...is that?" Buffy looked at her mate, tears in her eyes.

"He just said his first word."